Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Pursuit of Happ-ME-ness

I don’t know how many of you out there watch “Home Shopping Network” or “QVC” but it is a pretty amazing thing to partake in. Salesmen have anywhere between thirty seconds to thirty minutes to sell you something you absolutely cannot live without. Whether it is a tool set, a funky ice scraper for your car that is six feet long, a hot dog bun warmer, automatic fingernail clippers, or a blanket that is scientifically proven to keep your dog warmer in its bed; you need this to be happy. As I watch this thinking how humorous it is, the number at the bottom of the screen continues to rise as people buy, buy, buy to fill the void of that needed doggie blanket.

I didn’t know there were that many cold dogs in this world.

The point is that people think if I buy this “thing” I will be happy, and they buy it, they receive it in the mail in five to seven business days. They lay it out for Schnitzie the schnauzer and he hates it, now what to do? That didn’t really fill my desire; in fact I am not happy at all. What else does HSN have on sale today? Off to buy the next thing with the hopes that it will somehow fill this void in my life and maybe I will be happy.

Is our motivation in this life to search for happiness?

Or, is there something more than happiness?

I wonder if we always received everything we ever wanted, we were able to afford every single thing we wanted, every situation went our way, every hope we had came through…how strong of a person would we be really? How strong would our character be? We have trials and things that don’t always fall into place and one of two things can happen, desperation or growth. Now desperation happens more frequently when you are looking for that happiness fix, however, if you are looking to be teachable there can be growth.

There is a way to have peace in the midst of trials.

The happiness we often seek, the kind that comes from HSN, is temporary and fleeting. When Schnitzie doesn’t like the blanket, we have to look for the next high. We see this in today’s youth with numerous things from games, to drugs, to…well…anything that gives them the rush they feel they need. I say we see it in youth, but we see it all across our consumer driven society. We have to have the next big thing to fulfill my need for happiness. I need…for me…I need…for me…and don’t try to justify it by saying something like, “but the blanket was for Schnitizie.” No, that was for you, to fill your need, Schnitzie is fine.

We are so selfish and so hell-bent to get our way that we don’t see that we are making our character weak.

Maybe the tough times are there to broaden our horizons, to expand us, to stretch us and to make us a stronger person. Maybe, if you are a believer, these times are there to push us closer to God, to cause us to trust Him more and not trust ourselves, to grow in our faith, to make Him the source of our happiness because the happiness He provides is something much more than happiness. Happiness is a great thing, I am not saying we should be moping around and sad to build character, I believe there is balance (not that we go looking for trouble to balance things out, just saying to try to conjure up a way to be happy to avoid reality). When we run away from reality to live in a miserable, self projected happiness, we may find momentary fixes, but there is no growth and there is a weak character that is unable to deal as well with the real issues that we all will face sooner or later.

Recently, I have enjoyed some of my time with my wife and child, this is our daughter’s first full winter and she will enjoy her first Christmas. This brings me happiness, so should I look for something tough to go through to balance it out? No, the tough times will find me, but as I go through those tough times it will help me to enjoy those happy moments more and lean on God more as I go through the trials. In the end, my happy moments will become lasting and beautiful memories while I hope the trials will produce character in me that my family, friends, and those I love will see and respect and maybe even want to mimic to some degree.

Don’t fear the trials, don’t try to selfishly dodge them with conjured up happiness, face them head on while leaning on God…you will find what He can do in those trials to be something truly amazing and the happy moments He brings to be more joyous and lasting.

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